Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Albany State University quarterback Frank Rivers, QB coach Brian Von Bergen forming strong bond

ALBANY, Georgia -- Practice is over and most of the players head back to the field house to get dressed.

But in a small corner of the football practice field at Albany State University, quarterback Frank Rivers and newly hired quarterbacks coach Brian Von Bergen continue to work, oblivious that most of the team has called it a day.

It doesn’t matter that Rivers, who was named the 2014 SIAC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, threw for 1,898 yards and 18 touchdowns last year. He listens to everything Von Bergen says, nodding in agreement.

“Everything is going pretty good,” said the soft-spoken Rivers. “He’s bringing out some new stuff that I need to add to my game, which I believe is helping me and I feel myself getting better each and every day. So I’m kind of excited to see where this year is going to go with a new coach.”


NCCU’s Jones: A DB with ‘ice blood’ in his veins

DURHAM, North Carolina -- N.C. Central cornerback back Mike Jones is expected to play Saturday against Elizabeth City State after experiencing some short-term memory loss.

It’s a good thing.

No, Jones did not get a concussion during NCCU’s season-opener at East Carolina, a 52-7 loss inside a buzzing Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium in Greenville. None of the Pirates cold-cocked Jones, although ECU’s wide receivers were pushing him around a little bit. The refs flagged him a couple of times for pass interference, too.

But bring up those penalties to Jones, and he’d be like, “Flags? What flags.”

“That’s the whole key to being a really good corner. You want a guy with ice blood pumping through his veins,” NCCU coach Jerry Mack said. “I think that’s what Mike is. He may give up a play here or there, give up a catch, but he doesn’t remember.”


FAMU 10 for $10 challenge goes viral

TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- Cecka Rose Green thought she had a pretty good idea for helping alma mater, Florida A&M University: Give $10 to the school and challenge 10 other Rattlers to follow suit.

It turns out it was more than a good idea. Rose Green’s “10 for $10” social media campaign, begun Aug. 25, quickly went viral.

In its first seven days the challenge raised more than $51,000 for the FAMU Foundation, and that doesn’t count checks that were being mailed in and had yet to be counted.

“We’re encouraging people to donate in memory of fallen Rattlers,” Rose Green said. “We want to take this into perpetuity, getting people to give every month.”

Rose Green, working with the blessing of FAMU President Elmira Mangum and Thomas Haynes, vice president for university advancement, believes the challenge campaign can produce $1 million by May, when FAMU’s National Alumni Association holds its annual meeting.


Howard Bison Keith Pough signed by Cleveland Browns practice team

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Former Scott’s Branch High School football standout Keith Pough has been signed by the Cleveland Browns for its practice team, according to The Bleacher Report.

Pough, 24, was picked up last year by the Buffalo Bills as an un-drafted free agent, but was later cut by the team. Pough was the recipient of the East-West Shrine Game’s Pat Tillman Award in 2013, recognized as a player exemplifying character, intelligence, sportsmanship and service.

While attending Howard University, the 6-foot-3, 235-pound Pough recorded 349 total tackles and set the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision record for tackles for a loss with 71. He was voted the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Defensive Player of the Year Award, and won the Frank P. Bolden Award as the Pigskin Club of Washington College’s Player of the Year.


MSU Bears Continue Road Swing at Holy Cross on Saturday

1 p.m. Kick-off at Fitton Field, Morgan State vs. Holy Cross

Complete Gamenotes (PDF)
Morgan State will face Holy Cross on the road for the Crusdaer's home-opener on Saturday (Sept. 6). The Bears enter the 2014 season under the leadership of new head coach Lee Hull. Holy Cross completed the 2013 season with a 3-9 overall record and was 1-5 in the Patriot League. Morgan State posted a 5-7 record and was tied for third in the MEAC with a 5-3 record in conference play.  Game time at Fitton Field is scheduled for 1 p.m. The game will televised on Charter TV3 and will also be broadcast live by Morgan State's flagship station WEAA, 88.9 FM.

• Morgan State and Holy Cross will meet for the first time in history.

• MSU will enter the 2014 season with a number of veterans... the Bears' roster has 64 returning players and 17 returning starters on its roster ... there are 34 who started at least one game or were considered a starter last year ... the roster also includes a number of veterans - 16 seniors and 13 juniors.

• The Bears return its top receiver from last season in Thomas Martin ... Martin, a Naples (Fla.) product, started in every game and finished with 352 yards on 28 receptions.

• MSU returns a corps of running backs in 2014 with Lamont Brown IIIHerb Walker Jr. and Tracy Martin the most likely candidates in the backfield.

• The Bears return an experienced trio of quarterbacks (Robert CouncilSeth Higgins and Moses Skillon) ... Council started Week 1 vs. EMU and completed 18-of-28 passes for 285 yards with 3 TDs.

• Seven (7) starters return from the 2013 defense: Andrew Mitchell (DL), Cody Acker (LB), Christopher Robinson (LB), Ta'Quon Jackson (LB), Bill Hill (LB), Peterson Janvier (FS) and Nate Ayers (SS).

• Cody Acker, a 2013 Third Team All-MEAC selection, returns as one of the league leaders with 97 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, in addition to an interception for a touchdown. 

• Coach Hull added six assistants to his initial coaching staff ... the new coaches are: John Morgan (AHC), Fred Farrier (OC), Dwayne Foster (OL), Ken Lucas (RB),Brawley Evans (DB/RC), and Jamari McCollough (WR).

• Morgan State and Holy Cross are meeting for the first time Saturday.

• Morgan State is playing in the state of Massachusetts for the sixth time in school history. The Bears have played at: Boston College ('83), Boston University ('83 & '84) and Massachusetts ('78 & '85). 

• Senior LB Cody Acker was named MEAC Defensive Player of the Week following his performance vs. Eastern Michigan.

• Lee Hull will be making his return to Holy Cross, where he was a wideout under head coaches Rick Carter and Mark Duffner, and coached alongside Dan Allen.

• Redshirt freshman Matthew Thompson received his first collegiate start as the right tackle last week at Eastern Michigan.

MSU enters its 116th season of football, and the first  under head coach Lee Hull.

The Crusaders finished with an overall mark of 3-9 during the 2013 season. Seven (7) of Holy Cross' losses were by seven points or less.

• They return 47 letterwinners to go along with 16 starters from a team that dropped it s final five games of the 2013 season.

• Holy Cross is 0-1 after its tough 14-13 loss to Albany. The deciding play of the game happened when Neil Morrison recovered a fumble and returned it 79 yards for a touchdown with 44 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, as Albany came from behind to pulloff the victory.

• The Crusaders will be led on offense by sophomore quarterback Peter Pujals. He completed 23-of-42 passes for 323 yards and a touchdown, while sophomore wideout Jake Wieczorek had a career-high seven receptions for 149 yards and a score against Albany on Saturday.

• The running back position will be led by Gabe Guild, who finished with 75 yards on 23 carries in the Crusdaer's season-opener.

• The defense was led by sophomore free safety Luke Ford, who finished with 11 tackles and two pass breakups, while John Zakrzewski add nine tackles.

• Head coach Tom Gilmore enters his 11th year at Holy Cross. The Crusaders stand 47-43 overall (53-49 in the Patriot League since the beginning of the 2005 season). Under Gilmore's leadership, the Crusaders have been one of the most successful program's in the conference.

Morgan State is 0-1 vs. current members of the Patriot League Conference. Morgan State has only played Patriot League team once in its history. The Bears were defeated at Bucknell 37-10 on Sept. 4, 1999. It marked the first game under MSU's new head coach Stanley Mitchell. 


AAMU's Betty Austin, John Stallworth honored as ‘Legends’

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida  – Betty Austin made her point clear Saturday night at the MEAC-SWAC Challenge Legends Reception.

"If your mama wants you to be nurtured, come to Alabama A&M," she told the audience in the Contemporary Resort Ballroom.

The longtime women's coach was honored with former Bulldog John Stallworth as well as Elvin Bethea, Harry Carson and Bill Hamilton at the annual banquet. They were recognized for significant contributions to their HBCUs and communities.

Austin, who is also an A&M alum, was asked what made her want to go back to the university.

"I wanted to get a job ...," she said.

Seriously, though, Austin said she wanted to help give young women "an opportunity to get an education."


Alabama A&M on the road to Tuskegee

HUNTSVILLE -- It will be a quick turnaround this week for Head Coach James Spady and the Alabama A&M football team.

The Bulldogs travel to Tuskegee for a 1 p.m. game Saturday with the Golden Tigers.

They lost Sunday 47-13 to North Carolina A&T in the 10th annual MEAC-SWAC Challenge in Orlando, FL.

Monday was an off day for the Bulldogs (0-1) who will be playing five straight road games to open the season. Saturday's game is the season opener for Tuskegee.